"Abkhazia will owe Russia $110 million and lose the airport" - Opinions on the ratification of the new agreement
Russian investor and airport in Abkhazia
The Abkhazian Parliament has ratified an agreement with the Russian government, allowing a “Russian legal entity to carry out an investment project for the restoration and further operation of the international airport in Sukhumi.”
In simpler terms, the agreement has been approved, enabling a Russian investor to rebuild and operate the Sukhumi Airport.
Out of the 33 parliament members, 30 voted in favor of ratification, two voted against, and one member abstained.
While the authorities view this as a positive decision, almost all independent experts protest warn of catastrophic consequences. Let’s look at the arguments.
- Russian investor to restore Sukhumi Airport on most favorable conditions for themselves
- About the properties which Russia wants from Abkhazia – Commentary
- Abkhazia`s ‘railroad’ loan: Moscow ready to wait another 10 years
Arguments of the authorities
According to the Abkhazian Minister of Economy, Kristina Ozgan, the airfield, aerodrome infrastructure, and airport terminal complex, which are considered objects of historical and cultural heritage, will remain in state ownership. However, the airport’s infrastructure will be transferred to private ownership.
Arguments of independent experts
The decision made by the parliament has been perceived negatively by the public, particularly because it means that Abkhazia will owe Russia 10 billion rubles (approximately $110 million).
Public figure Tengiz Djopua compared this to selling a healthy kidney to buy expensive sneakers.
“Imagine that you didn’t just buy them but took a loan from the bank, for which they asked for a kidney as collateral. But that’s not even the funniest part. The funniest part is that you’ll have to work for 50 years to repay this loan. Really, it’s ridiculous.”
Economist Akhra Aristava is certain that, in the end, Abkhazia will have to surrender the entire airport to Russia. He insists that taking credit commitments exceeding the budget’s income with hopes of earning that money back when the airport becomes operational is a mistake.
“And what if something goes wrong? If we can’t repay this loan, then, according to international practice, we’ll have to give the whole airport away. That’s why taking unrealistic obligations is not right. I can even understand our government – they really want to get the airport up and running. But how can we understand the Russian government? They surely know our capabilities, and yet they still sign this agreement.”
“Now the only way forward is to sit down and figure out how to triple the republic’s budget in the shortest possible time. This is a matter of national security,” Aristava believes.
Terms, place names, opinions and ideas suggested by the author of the publication are her / his own and do not necessarily coincide with the opinions and ideas of JAMnews or its individual employees. JAMnews reserves the right to remove comments on posts that are deemed offensive, threatening, violent or otherwise ethically unacceptable.